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The Policing of the Palestinian Minority in Israel: An International Law Perspective

[Police officers in Israel. Photo taken by Mark Probst and uploaded via Wikimedia Commons]

In January 2017, the Palestinian Member of Knesset (MK), Haneen Zoabi, commissioned a report detailing multilayered omissions by the Israeli police force in combating the increasing crime rates within the Palestinian minority in Israel.[i] While the Israeli police force has prided itself in the last couple of years with halting the overall rate of violent crimes in the country, the report suggests that the police has failed miserably in halting violent crimes within Arab localities. Currently Palestinians make up twenty-one percent of the general population of the State of Israel, however, crime rates in Arab towns are three times higher than those in Jewish ...

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New Texts Out Now: Helga Tawil-Souri and Dina Matar, eds. Gaza as Metaphor

Helga Tawil-Souri and Dina Matar, editors. Gaza As Metaphor (London: Hurst, 2016).  Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Helga Tawil-Souri and Dina Matar (HTS and DM): During and in the immediate aftermath of the Israeli attacks against Gaza in July 2014, we shared a sense of anger and a responsibility to respond to the ways in which Gaza was a target of both military and representational violence. We were struck by the disconnect between how mainstream media, for example, talked about Gaza, that was generally ahistorical, and our own experiences and realities of Gaza. We were equally struck by how the word “Gaza” came to substitute for processes ...

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Sir Nigel Rodley versus Donald Trump on Torture

[Left to right: Sir Nigel Rodley and President Donald Trump]

Donald Trump is a man who defines himself by the number of norms he violates, according to Michael D’Antonio, the author of a biography, The Truth About Trump. “He's always refused to be like other people when it comes to manners and respect for others and loyalty to the truth…He's kind of a barbarian in that way—he gets a thrill out of disturbing other people and proving that he doesn't have to go along with what other people expect.”  One issue most people expect a US president to go along with—or at least pretend to go along with—is respect for a jus cogens norm. Jus cogens norms “constitute the pinnacle of the hierarchy of sources of international ...

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Making American Torture Great Again

 [Witness Against Torture protesters hold a demonstration outside the White House in January, 2016. Credit: Justin Norman at Shrieking Tree.]

Early on in Donald Trump’s bid to be the Republican Party nominee for president of the United States, he pledged to bring back the waterboard and “a whole lot worse.” (Waterboarding is a torture technique that involves strapping a person to a board and dousing his cloth-covered face with water to cause the sensation of drowning.) Like most of the other Republican contenders who vied for the 2016 nomination (and eleven of the twelve Republican contenders in the 2012 race), Trump ran on promises to resurrect the torture techniques authorized by the Bush administration after 9/11. Trump’s pro-torture premise is that these techniques “work,” that the kinds of people ...

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Migrant Worker Repression and Solidarity in Lebanon

In the weeks and months following the al-Qa` bombings that occurred near the Lebanese-Syrian border on 27 June 2016, the Lebanese government has intensified its repressive measures against Syrian refugees. This has taken place in the form of illegal curfews, political hate speech, and arbitrary arrests. In the week following the attacks, checkpoints were established all over the country, mainly targeting Syrian refugees, although other undocumented migrant workers were arrested as well. According to the Lebanese Army twitter account, more than six hundred Syrians were arrested in the first three days alone. In January 2015, most Syrian nationals residing in Lebanon ...

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Empty Promises? Radical Policy Shift Needed on Refugees and Migrants

 [An asylum seeker holds a sign addressing EU leaders at the Greek border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Image: MSF]

On 19 September 2016, the UN General Assembly brought together for the first time all UN Member states to work on a more “coordinated and humane approach” to large movements of refugees and migrants. Described as an “historic opportunity to come up with a blue print for a better international response,” the timing of this high level meeting could not have been better. With millions of refugees and migrants on the move and a deadly epidemic of restrictive migration and asylum policies spreading from country to country, it is time for world leaders to radically rethink their response to the large scale movement of migrants and refugees. Commentators have questioned ...

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Why the Life of Haytham Matters

UNRWA student, Haytham, caught up in the Syrian conflict dreams of being a surgeon

Haytham is a war child who lives with his family in Khan Eshieh camp, home to some nine thousand Palestine refugees and one of the most embattled areas of the Syrian capital, Damascus.  His story is increasingly common among UNRWA students in Syria. "I had to escape and hide when rockets fell near the school," he says. "It was horrifying. The fighting intensified and we lived in constant fear of bombing and violence. I studied in a state of high anxiety with the sounds of bullets and shelling." As world leaders gather today in New York at the Summit on Refugees and Migrants, I am struck by how often in recent months I have been confronted with ...

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Treating Terrorists

[A hospital supported by MSF was destroyed by an aerial bombing in the Idlib Governorate of Syria on 6 August 2016, killing four hospital staff and nine others, including five children. Source: MSF.]

On 15 August 2016, a Saudi-led coalition airstrike hit the Abs hospital in the Hajjah governorate of northwestern Yemen, killing nineteen people. The hospital, whose GPS coordinates were known by all parties to the conflict, was full of patients and staff at the time of the airstrike. This is the latest in a string of attacks on health facilities run and supported by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). In the past year, MSF hospitals and supported facilities have been attacked in Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen. In each of these countries, international military coalitions are supporting the local state in a battle against a criminalized or terrorist-designated enemy. The ...

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The Western Sahara and Football: A Path toward Self-Determination?

[Image of Western Sahara's national team, nicknamed

In April this year, a story appeared on an Algerian football website,  Le Competiteur, noting that the country’s national football team was planning a friendly match against Western Sahara. The question for the article was how Algeria’s regional rival Morocco would respond. Following incomplete decolonization by Spain in 1975, Western Sahara--which borders Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania--was occupied by Morocco and Mauritania despite the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rejecting the occupiers’ claims to pre-colonial sovereignty and asserting the Sahrawis’ right to self-determination. A bitter war, during which the Sahrawi resistance movement, known as the ...

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The Gulf Centre for Human Rights' 2015 Report: A STATUS/الوضع Conversation with Kristina Stockwood

In this Quick Thoughts interview for STATUS/الوضع, Nour Joudah speaks with Kristina Stockwood about the Gulf Center for Human Rights' 2015 report entitled "Human Rights Defenders in Prison and in Peril throughout the Gulf and Neighboring Countries." Kristina Stockwood is a human rights advocate who has been Chair of the Advisory Board of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) since 2011. Specialising in support to human rights defenders, women’s rights and freedom of expression, she also works with human rights NGOs in the Middle East to provide development support. Previously, she worked for IFEX, the international freedom of expression network, for 20 years ...

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The Nakba Files: An Inaugural Editors' Roundtable

Israeli Supreme Court justices, 1953 (source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Nakba continues, and an important site of its persistence is in the law. This was the idea behind The Nakba & The Law project that gave rise to The Nakba & The Law. Below, three of the site’s Editors — Hassan Jabareen, Katherine Franke, and Suhad Bishara — share their thoughts on the Nakba, the law, and what lies in between.    Hassan Jabareen: Jewish Privilege and Palestinian Dispossession Cannot be Separated The Nakba continues to haunt the law in Palestine/Israel in many indirect ways. But sometimes, it speaks to the Nakba directly, as happened when the Israeli Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the so-called “Nakba law.” ...

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The Human Right to Dominate: A STATUS/الوضع Conversation with Nicola Perugini

In this interview for STATUS/الوضع, host Noura Erakat interviews Nicola Perugini about his newly co-authored book The Human Right to Dominate.  Nicola Perugini is Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University. He has been assistant Professor at and Director of the Human Rights Program at the Al Quds Bard College (Jerusalem, Palestine), and taught at the Department of International Relations of the American University of Rome. He is the author (with Neve Gordon) of The Human Right to Dominate (Oxford University Press, 2015). He has published articles on embedded anthropology, asylum seekers, humanitarianism, politics of the gaze, law and spatial practices, human ...

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With Muslim Ban, Trump and Bannon Wanted Chaos, but Not Resistance

The Trump executive order that puts into place a series of unconstitutional restrictions on migration of citizens of seven Middle Eastern and African countries is anything but an instance of harried incompetence by an inexperienced White House staff. Rather, it is, like so many other Trump executive orders and presidential memoranda, a malignant, strategic attack on democracy. A closer look at the pre-history and logic of the ban reveals that the Muslim Ban executive order is one among many drastic ...

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New Texts Out Now: Karim Makdisi and Vijay Prashad, eds. Land of Blue Helmets: The United Nations in the Arab World

Karim Makdisi and Vijay Prashad, Land of Blue Helmets: The United Nations in the Arab World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2016). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Karim Makdisi (KM): This book was in the pipelines for a very long time! It began with my renewed interest in the politics of the UN following Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon and Israel’s various Gaza wars. Before that I had been working at the UN regional commission for West Asia (ESCWA), based in Beirut. I ...

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An Open Letter to Kwame Anthony Appiah, President of the Modern Language Association

The Modern Language Association (MLA) will be voting on a resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions at its upcoming convention, to be held 5-8 January 2017 in Philadelphia. The vote represents the culmination of a three-year process that began in 2014. The organizers describe the process in the following way: In Fall 2014, David Lloyd and Rebecca Comay submitted to the Organizing Committee of the Delegate Assembly a resolution and supporting documents calling upon the MLA to ...

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Conflict Medicine: A Manifesto

Contemporary protracted conflicts across the Middle East have presented health systems and professionals with unprecedented challenges. The objective of this manifesto on conflict medicine is to highlight the need for a better understanding of the different pathways of injury and re-injury within the changing ecology of war. Ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen are taking place in urban settings and result in high casualties among civilians and combatants alike. In fact, the distinction ...

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An Emergent Political Icon on the Landscape of Istanbul: The Palace of (In)Justice

[A protest outside the Palace of Justice. Photograph by Ayşe Öncü] All the anomalies of authoritarianism in contemporary Turkey seem telescoped, or short circuited in Istanbul’s “Palaces of Justice” (Adalet Sarayı). One of these “palaces” is on the Anatolian side in Kartal, and two in Europe, in Çağlayan and Bakırköy. These are all brand new buildings, inaugurated one after another by the incumbent AKP (Justice and Development Party) during its ten-year tenure in office. Monumental in scale, they have ...

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التحريض والإهمال والتواطؤ: كيف وصلنا إلى اغتيال حتّر

افتتاحية لم يكن أشدنا تشاؤمًا ليتوقع أن نستفيق اليوم على خبر جريمة اغتيال الكاتب ناهض حتّر بإطلاق النار عليه أمام قصر العدل؛ بيت القانون ومخزن «هيبة الدولة» الهشّة. هذه الجريمة جاءت بعد أسابيع من التحريض والتهديد على الكاتب منذ أن شارك على صفحته على الفيسبوك كاريكاتير بعنوان «رب الدواعش»، زُعمت «إساءته للذات الإلهية» بسبب تصويره رؤيةَ أنصار داعش لله، ليتم توقيفه بإيعاز من رئيس الحكومة هاني الملقي، ويبدأ التحقيق معه في الثالث عشر من آب الماضي، ثم يفرج عنه بكفالة بعد أكثر من شهر على اعتقاله. اليوم، إن ...

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The Anti-Colonial Origins of Humanitarian Intervention: NGOs, Human Rights

The decade-long Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979-1989) does not usually figure into conventional narratives of precedents for humanitarian interventions. When the Kremlin opted to dispatch a “limited contingent” of tens of thousands of soldiers to liquidate the erratic leadership of one wing of the ruling People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan and replace it with another wing, it was to protect the prospects for socialism within what Moscow understood as its sphere of influence, not to halt a genocide. ...

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Media On Media Roundup (August 12)

This week’s Jadaliyya media on media roundup is set against the backdrop of a variety of issues. In Lebanon, an ad celebrating the country’s army was heavily criticized and eventually retracted after it was revealed that the soldier in the image was an Israeli, prompting a quick apology from the company. Elsewhere, Pokemon GO’s popularity has finally reached the point where it has been banned for the first time in a country. Iran issued a ban that outlawed the augmented reality video game. In ...

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Arab Studies Institute Announces Release of Gaza in Context Pedagogy Project

Israel does not have a Hamas problem, it does not have a Gaza problem, it has a Palestine problem. It has been two years since Israel’s most brutal attack on the Palestinian people of Palestine in its history. Despite overwhelming evidence of the disparity of power between Israel and all Palestinians and the aggressiveness of Israel's exercise of its power, including excessive and brutal violence and collective punishment in Gaza in the form of occupation, siege, and frequent military assaults against ...

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The Nakba and Anti-Blackness

The Nakba marks a momentous rupture in the history of Arab connection to the land of Palestine. The forcible, mass removal of native Palestinians in 1948 thus overwhelms the history, literature, activism, and memory regarding the Palestinian Question. To begin in 1948 is to narrate a story of collective loss, one that gives vivid expression to the collusion of state powers, the asymmetric capacities between industrialized and developing nations, the unyielding sway of nationalism, and to the remarkable ...

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Between the United States and Russia: Why Morocco Is Railing against the United Nations

Adopted on 29 April 2016, the Security Council's Resolution 2285 on the Western Sahara is the closest thing to an ultimatum: the kingdom has four months to authorize the return of the civilian staff-members of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, known as MINURSO. The decision to expel them, no doubt the consequence of an eruption of “royal anger,” has harmed Morocco's relations with broad sectors of the world community, including the country's “American friends.” No draft ...

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Pro-AKP Media Figures Continue to Target Academics for Peace

On 22 March 2016, Yıldıray Oğur, a pro-government media figure, wrote a column targeting the Academics for Peace, Bosphorus/Boğaziçi University, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), and Jadaliyya, among others.  The piece problematically conflates terrorism with Academics for Peace, and blatantly asserts that signatory academics manipulate facts. At the same time, the author appears to obscure the fact that after the Suruç bombing on 20 July 2015, the ruling party AKP, together with ...

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